BioTime obtained an exclusive license from The Wistar Institute for technology related to a gene called SP100 implicated in cancer and stem cell biology. Scientists at BioTime’s subsidiaries OncoCyte and ReCyte Therapeutics plan to apply this technology in the development of drugs for cancer and vascular diseases.
In conjunction with the license agreement, BioTime has agreed to fund research at The Wistar Institute to advance the technology. BioTime will receive certain rights to negotiate additional licenses for any technologies invented as a result of the research.
"It is rare to find a gene like SP100 that has such strategic importance in diverse fields of medicine like oncology and stem cell biology," says Michael West, Ph.D., BioTime's CEO.
The licensed technology was invented at The Wistar Institute and described in an article published during 2010 in Cancer Research. The scientists reported that when the SP100 gene is active, it has the potential to suppress the malignancy of tumor cells. In addition, they found that when the gene is artificially inactivated in normal human cells, it has the potential to revert the cells to an embryonic stem cell-like state.
The SP100 technology that BioTime has licensed from The Wistar Institute relates to the use of SP100 to both turn off the cancerous characteristics of cells and to make cells from the body competent for reprogramming back into a stem cell state for use in regenerative medicine.
BioTime's therapeutic product development strategy is pursued through subsidiaries that focus on specific organ systems and related diseases for which there is a high unmet medical need. OncoCyte focuses on the diagnostic and therapeutic applications of stem cell technology in cancer. ReCyte Therapeutics is developing applications of BioTime's induced pluripotent stem cell technology to reverse the developmental aging of human cells to treat cardiovascular and blood cell diseases.
BioTime also develops and markets research products in the field of stem cells and regenerative medicine, including an array of ACTCellerate™ cell lines, culture media, and differentiation kits. BioTime's wholly owned subsidiary ES Cell International has produced clinical-grade human embryonic stem cell lines for use in research.